Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gull(s), Crane, Phoebe; Winter Marsh Raptor Survey

[One of two Horned Larks along Shepard's Mill Road, north of the Cohansey River in Cumberland County. Click to enlarge photos.]

Dave LaPuma's got "the" Black-headed Gull right now at the same spot he had it yesterday, the mouth of Cox Hall Creek. Two were reported at the Ferry Terminal yesterday, seen simultaneously.

The Cape Island Sandhill Cranes live on, with a report from the uncut cornfield south of the St. Mary's cemetary. The cemetary is between Broadway/Seashore and Shunpike Roads.

Speaking of living on, Tony Leukering had an Eastern Phoebe at the Beanery thaw area along Bayshore Road near the railroad tracks yesterday. Dave LaPuma had a Pied-billed Grebe on"Lake Champlain," the small development pond along Champlain Avenue in the Villas, north of Villas WMA. Best bet is to find it on your Cape May County map and navigate your way there.

The drake Redhead was among the 47 species found on CMBO's Saturday Cape May Point field trip, see the full results on Field Trip Reports.

A midday stroll around the Villas WMA yesterday yielded plenty of wet snow. The large pond was 30% open, with a single Double-crested Cormorant roosting on the ice with 6 Green-winged Teal. The usual Ring-necked Ducks, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallards and Black Ducks were on the pond , too.

Yesterday evening was CMBO's second Winter Marsh Raptor Survey of 2010. At least one survey point (Tuckahoe) and maybe others were unreachable thanks to the snow. Tom Reed and Tony Leukering had one Short-eared Owl at Jake's Landing right at dark, but I don't know if they had to walk out the road to get there. My survey point at the end of Ragged Island Road at the Cohansey River mouth was lovely and had a beautiful Short-eared Owl lit up from below by the snow, with only slightly diminished numbers of harriers compared to January - but it was a long walk through drifts up to three feet deep to get out there. Karen and Brian Johnson had 3 Short-eareds at Mott's Creek. Their's, like mine, were close to the woods edge - less wind and maybe more prey.

[Female Northern Harrier going to bed with a full crop at the mouth of the Cohansey. We'll post the survey results when all points have reported - will numbers be down after the blizzards?]

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